So you've signed up for the most famous race of them all. Here's how to get properly prepped

"I've designed a 15-week training plan that'll take you all the way from a 20-minute test run to marathon glory," says leading strength & conditioning coach Jonny Jacobs. "Across four sessions per week will you'll take in one easy/recovery run; one interval -running session to increase your speed and aid recovery; one bodyweight circuit-training class to increase your muscular endurance; and one long run to up your distances.

"The training plan slowly ramps the time and distance you'll be running for, so when it comes to the event you will be more than ready to conquer this challenge."

MARATHON timetable 1
MARATHON timetable 2
MARATHON timetable 3
MARATHON timetable 4

Glossary of terms

Interval training

Repeatedly performing an activity at a high intensity, followed by the same activity at a lower intensity – sprinting then slow jogging, for example. Make sure your interval training is optimised for you - get more advice on training in Unbound's Hints and Tips pages here.

Circuit training

A number of different exercises, performed one after another, with little rest in-between.

Easy run

This means running at a pace where you're just about able to hold a conversation without gasping.

Run for speed

This is shorter, quicker run aimed at improving your time by increasing the pace you can run at.

Mind coaching

Use 'chunking'

"Running is repetitive so it’s important to compartmentalise the event and not see it as a whole," says top sports psychologist and space physiologist, Julia Attias. “Use self-talk tactics such as, ‘All I’m doing is just running one more mile.’ Chances are, you’ll then think, ‘Hey, that wasn’t that bad, I can do another one…’"

Remember your motive

“Because this is a long event, it’s imperative you keep reminding yourself why you entered in the first place," says Attias. “This motivation is what will sustain your concentration through the weeks of training and into the big day itself."

Visualise

“Picture the spectators who are cheering you on from the sidelines, and your friends back at home who’ll be thinking of you while you’re running," says Attias.

Interval training

Repeatedly performing an activity at a high intensity, followed by the same activity at a lower intensity – sprinting then slow jogging, for example.

Circuit training

A number of different exercises, performed one after another, with little rest in-between.

Easy run

This means running at a pace where you're just about able to hold a conversation without gasping.

Run for speed

This is shorter, quicker run aimed at improving your time by increasing the pace you can run at.

Nutrition

"Endurance events are all about being fuelled properly, as the worst thing would be training for all those weeks to then not have enough energy to enjoy it," says Jonny Jacobs. "The body's fuel will come from carbohydrates, as they'll be broken down into glycogen, which enables to your muscles to work to their full potential.

"You have weeks to experiment with which food sources give you energy, and which make you feel like a lead balloon. In addition, you should look to be trialling when the optimal time is for you to eat before – and during – a run. Don't leave it until the last week to work these things out!"